• Nhandu chromatus (Brazilian Red and White) Care Sheet

      Subfamily: Theraphosinae
      Genus: Nhandu
      Species: chromatus
      Common Name: Brazilian Red and White
      Explorer: Schmidt
      Year of Discovery: 1994
      Country: Brazil
      Tarantula World: New World

      Their Natural Habitat:
      Subtropical humid forests and savannahs of Paraguay and Brazil. These are a burrowing species that becomes bolder with size/age.

      Please note that individuals can vary in temperament widely. This species is noted for being particularly aggressive and defensive, readily throwing a threat display and flicking its particularly irritating urticating hairs. In my experience, I have found these and Nhandus in general to be highly skittish and panicky, scampering for cover if they can find it. I have also found that they DO calm down with some work, and my last big girl would snuggle down in my palm to sleep.
      I have found these to grow quite fast. They are tiny slings at 3/8”at 2nd instar. My first big girl grew to close to 7” diagonal leg span within two years. 5.5” to 6” is the normal size they attain.
      Experience Level:
      These are an intermediate level tarantula as they are particularly defensive, fiesty, or skittish. They readily throw up threat poses and kick hairs. Their hairs are particularly irritating as well.
      These subtropical spiders do well with warmer temps. 78-82oF during the day, 68-72oF at night.
      70-80% humidity during most of the year. They have a dry season in their native lands of around 60%.

      As a larger terrestrial species, these do well with some space. 5-10-gallon tanks should be adequate, with 10-gallon better. A fall from even a short distance could be fatal, so keep the distance from the top of the enclosure to the substrate no more than 1.5 times the diagonal leg span of the spider (9 inches).

      Eco Earth (coconut husk). You may make a mix of Vermiculite and Eco Earth (75/25). From my experience, Peat Moss does cultivate molds very easily, and thus would not be recommended for this species. Avoid any Evergreen woods (Cypress, Reptile Bark) inside of the enclosure. Evergreen woods contain natural insecticidal oils that can harm your tarantula if exposed long enough. Isopods (rolly-polies, or pill bugs) are agood cleaner to keep in the substrate that will help reduce the risk of mold. Molds can also be inhibited by allowing the substrate to dryout completely (just keep the water dish filled). But isopods require moist environments, so do not dry it out if you keep them in the tank.

      Nhandu chromatus will like to move dirt around from time to time. Spiderlings and juveniles will do more burrowing than adults.

      Crickets, meal worms, wax worms, superworms, Blaptica dubia or Blatta lateralis roaches. Please do not offer wild caught prey, as it may contain pesticides (and potential parasites) which can harm or kill your tarantula. Also never feed your tarantula “kingworms” (giant mealworms) as these are mealworms that have been fed juvenile growth hormones to prevent them from maturing so they grow bigger. JGH are a common insecticide and would not be good for your invertebrate tarantula! (I received this from a personal conversation with a cricket/worm breeder near me). Furthermore, online information often recommends feeding larger tarantulas an occasional baby mouse (i.e. pinky); this is not recommended here on the grounds that the extra calcium can be harmful to their exoskeletons.

      Nhandu chromatus is a voracious feeder and fun to watch eat. If given the opportunity, they will try to stuff as many crickets into their fangs as they can. They seem to love to eat. Yet my experience (and that of others here) are that their appetites drop off once they mature.

      Make sure to offer a water bowl, the size should be half the size of the spider. Do not use any sponges, cotton balls or paper towel (as these are breeding grounds for bacteria) or water crystals inside of water bowl, just clean water. Small rocks may be added. Clean the water bowl once a week or when you feel it is necessary. Crickets or roaches may end up dead in the water, in which case you should clean it right away. Spiderlings are too small to have a water bowl, misting one side of the enclosure wall 1-2 times aweek, should be plenty enough. Your tarantula may often fill the dish with substrate, or even poop in it, but continue to provide clean water. Also I periodically wet the substrate, allowing that to dry out completely to prevent mold growth.

      Maturity female:
      Females may take 2-4 years to mature, and live for up to 15 years. Increasing temperature and/ or feeding schedule can shorten these times.
      Maturity male/ Tibial Apophysis:
      Yes, males have tibial apophysis. They may take 1.5-3 years to mature and live less than a year after maturing. Increasing temperature and/or feeding schedule can shorten these times.
      Communal Setup:
      No. These are not communal at all. Do not attempt to house these together unless breeding a male and female, and then, keep a close eye on them as she can be particularly aggressive towards him initially.

      Color Markings:
      A most striking spider with a velvety black base, white stripes down the knees and tibia, blond or pale carapace that darkens with age, and bright red highlight setae on the abdomen.

      Special Note:
      The Nhandu chromatus is a very hardy and inexpensive, yet entertaining and strikingly beautiful tarantula. As they are one of the most prolific reproducing tarantluas in the hobby (with sacs from up to 1,500 spiderlings) their supply is rarely lacking in the hobby, so they are one of the less expensive species on the market.

      Make sure never to keep a Tarantula enclosure directly in the sun. No light is necessary for your Tarantulas habitat. Natural lighting is perfectly fine. Nhandus seem particularly panicky in direct sunlight, seeking shade as fast as they can find it.

      Read more about them on our fan club page:

      CITES List
      These are not on the CITES II list (as far as I can see), but captive-bred specimens are available.
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      Comments 2 Comments
      1. ManlyMan7's Avatar
        ManlyMan7 -

      1. Ranchibi's Avatar
        Ranchibi -
        Excellent Care Sheet ManlyMan7! Thank you!